NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 5th (All times Eastern)
Washington Capitals (34-30-13) at New York Islanders (31-35-10), 5 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Capitals have done serious damage to their playoff chances during a five-game losing streak, but the club hopes to end the costly slide when it visits the New York Islanders for Saturday's clash at Nassau Coliseum.
The Capitals are 0-3-2 over their last five games and dropped an important test in regulation on Friday. Washington lost 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils at the start of a four-game road trip, as Ryan Carter scored the game-winner for the home team with 4:54 remaining in the third period.
With the win, New Jersey leapfrogged Washington in the East standings and moved within three points of Columbus for the second wild-card spot. The Caps, meanwhile, are a point back of the Devils and four behind Columbus with five games left in the regular season.
"It's obviously difficult to swallow a loss," Washington head coach Adam Oates said. "We played a good game, good hockey game. We only gave them two goals. A lot of good things in the game."
Washington lost Friday despite a 29-save effort from Jaroslav Halak. Alex Ovechkin supplied his 49th goal of the season for the Capitals. Another tally would give Ovechkin his fifth season of 50 goals or more.
On Saturday, the Capitals are facing a team that has been eliminated from postseason contention, but the Islanders have played well recently in their spoiler role. New York has won three straight and five of its last six games and is coming off Wednesday's 2-1 regulation win in Ottawa.
Casey Cizikas scored the game-winning goal on a power play in the third period to help the Isles edge the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. Josh Bailey scored his eighth of the season and added an assist while Ryan Strome had two helpers.
Anders Nilsson made 35 saves for the Islanders, who have won three straight for the first time since a season-best four-game winning streak from Jan. 6-12.
"It was a good road win. It wasn't our best game we've had in a little while, but everyone bared down when it mattered, we had some timely saves and found a way to get a power-play goal late," said Bailey.
New York has six games left in the regular season, but only two of them will come at home. The Islanders are just 13-18-8 on Long Island this season compared to an 18-17-2 road mark.
The Isles halted a three-game losing streak in this series with a 1-0 road win over the Capitals on Feb. 4. Andrew MacDonald, who has since been traded to Philadelphia, scored the game's only goal early in the third period to give New York a 3-1-2 record in its last six games against Washington.
The Caps have won two of three and eight of the past 10 meetings at the Coliseum.
Washington is 14-17-7 as the visiting team and will complete this road trip with stops in St. Louis and Carolina before closing the regular season on a two-game homestand.
04/05 10:31:47 ET